Todd Krygier was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois but grew up in hockey mad Michigan. He was never the most talented kid on the ice, but he worked hard and had an unending passion for the game.
He also learned how to deal with adversity and keep working at your dreams when things are not going according to plan. He experienced it much of his amateur career.
"I had my heart set on being accepted to West Point (military academy), but I fell just short and didn't get accepted," he said "Then I went to Rochester Institute of Technology and, after a month- and-a-half, I got cut from the hockey team. Then I applied to go to Brown (University) and I couldn't get in there, so I transferred to the University of Connecticut. I was devastated at the time, but all those things turned out to be lucky for me."
Krygier left the school as Huskies' second all time leading scorer with 99 goals and 200 points. He also got drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the 1988 NHL supplemental draft.
Krygier left school a year earlier, which again was not according to plan. He was working towards his masters degree in business when the Whalers convinced him to turn pro.
After a year and a half apprenticing in the American Hockey League, Krygier made a strong NHL debut in the 1989-90 season, scoring 18 goals.
"I made the Whalers in camp, but was sent back to work on a few things," said Krygier. "I didn't want to go down again and the next time I was called up, I stayed nine years."
It is true. And that is made even more impressive in that he never came close to his 18 freshman goals in a season again. Instead he carved out a nice career as a checker and utility player on the bottom lines. A great skater, he was also a strong penalty killer.
And he accomplished all that while developing asthma while in the National Hockey League.
He remained in Hartford for one more season before stops two stops in Washington, interrupted by a couple of season with Anaheim. His NHL career came to an end with hearbreak, as the Capitals lost in the Stanley Cup final to Detroit in 1998.
His hockey career was not over yet, however. Krygier a couple of seasons in the minor leagues with the Orlando Solar Bears.
"That was a great experience," said Krygier. "I became a better person. I learned a lot of life lessons and met some great friends I still have now."
In retirement Krygier returned to Michigan and opened his own auto insurance agency and got involved in coaching his kids through all levels of youth hockey. That led to opportunities to coach in the USHL and NCAA.